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Charging Motorists by the Mile More Reliable Than Fuel Tax, Says Study

February 19, 2010 · · Filed Under Commercial Fleets, Eco-Driving, FuelClinic, News & Reports, Oil & Politics, United States 

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Charging motorists for every mile they drive could be more reliable than fuel taxes to pay for bridges, highways and transit systems, but would be hard to sell to motorists, according to a national policy group.

A RAND Corp. study released last week concluded there were good reasons to switch from charging gas taxes to charging fees based on how far each car or truck travels. The government gets most of the money for road construction and maintenance from gas taxes, but cars and trucks put more wear and tear on roads while inflation and better fuel efficiency make the fuel tax worth less and less, said Paul Sorensen, lead author of the study…

…Collecting the fee would be more expensive than administering the gas tax; putting tracking units in cars likely would raise privacy concerns; and changing the fee wouldn’t be any more popular than changing the federal gas tax — which hasn’t increased from 18.3 cents per gallon since 1993, Sorensen said.

Read the whole article here, then join in the discussion over at the FuelClinic Facebook page.


3 Responses to “Charging Motorists by the Mile More Reliable Than Fuel Tax, Says Study”

  1. Michael Block (Orlando Auto Examiner) on February 23rd, 2010 11:23 PM

    Although the British car show Top Gear is usually regarded only as entertainment, co-host James May made an excellent point when he was lambasting UK’s ‘congestion charge':

    “There is sort of that assumption by the government that we’re all driving around at eight o’clock in the morning to be really annoying.”

    Those who do the most driving – and will therefore be required to front the largest portion of this bill – are small businesses, who are already trying hard enough just to keep the doors open in this still-very-uncertain economy.

    What’s worse, though, is that the tax will do virtually nothing to reduce wear and tear on the roadways… just like the UK’s congestion charge has done virtually nothing to reduce carbon emissions output.

    The only thing ridiculous policies like these (and cap-and-trade) does is line the coffers of government bureaucrats with even more money for them to squander.

  2. Michael on February 24th, 2010 11:00 AM

    Related from a few days ago:


    “To the list of woes facing a cash-strapped state government, now add fuel efficiency.

    In Washington, motorists pay 37.5 cents on each gallon of gas. The money generates the bulk of revenue needed to build and maintain state highways, and it’s a significant source of money for county road projects as well.

    Here’s the problem: Motorists require much less gas than they used to.”

  3. Jason on February 24th, 2010 3:50 PM

    I should also be considered a penalty for people who drive fuel efficient cars. At least taxing by the gallon at the pump is fair and equal for all. It doesn’t matter how many miles to the gallon a car gets on the road, you pay for the gas you are pumping.

    A car that gets 20 miles to the gallon will pay less on a per mile basis than someone who gets 25 miles for a gallon. The efficient car is penalized for traveling 5 miles further on that same gallon of gas.

    If a per mile tax is imposed, I will intentionally go and get the least efficient car I can afford and like. That is, of course assuming that if a per mile tax is imposed, the per gallon tax is removed.

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